Clint Frazier has been a popular name among Cincinnati Reds fans for some time now. Would a change in scenery be just what the 24-year-old needs?
I find it highly unlikely that Clint Frazier finds his way onto George Steinbrenner Field down in Tampa, Florida when the New York Yankees begin spring training in February. The promising outfielder had a falling out with the Bronx Bombers this past season and he’ll likely be traded this winter. Should the Cincinnati Reds enter the fray and take a flyer on Frazier?
Last season, in 69 games with the Yankees, Frazier slashed .267/.317/.489 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs. Frazier saw 45 starts in the Yankees outfield, finding more than half his starts in right, though he’s capable of playing left field as well. That said, Frazier’s defense in subpar with a -8 defensive runs saved last season. Ouch!
“Red Thunder”, as he’s nicknamed, saw his time with the big league club go caput after the Yankees acquired Edwin Encarnacion. Frazier was optioned back to Triple-A and did not reemerge until the rosters expanded in September, starting eight games that month and hitting just .176. There’s a lot of speculation that Frazier’s time in the Big Apple may be coming to an end.
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Even with the outfielder Aaron Hicks undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Yankees still have a loaded outfield. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Tauchman would likely take the field for New York, and there’s also the possibility that the Yankees bring back Brett Gardner as well.
Frazier has worn out his welcome in New York. His run-ins with the media are well-documented, but to be fair, not everyone is cut out to play on the biggest stage every night. Reds fans need look no further than the transformation we saw from Sonny Gray after his trade from the Yankees.
Clint Frazier, if he receives the opportunity to play consistently, could be a player that David Bell could plug into the middle of the batting order on a regular basis. The Reds front office has a desire to upgrade the team’s offensive production this offseason, and Frazier definitely fits the bill.
Frazier’s .806 OPS last season would have placed fourth on the Cincinnati Reds roster, trailing only Eugenio Suárez, Aristides Aquino and Jesse Winker. For a team looking to #GetTheHitting, Clint Frazier provides a legitimate power and the ability to put the bat on the ball.
What might the New York Yankees be looking for in exchange for Frazier? One word – pitching. New York could be looking to upgrade the bullpen or even the starting rotation. No one from the Reds rotation is likely to be dealt, but if Cincinnati were able to send a pair of young relievers to Bronx, perhaps the two sides could come to an agreement.
The lack of defense and unlikely return to the Yankees lineup make Clint Frazier a buy-low candidate. There’s no doubt that Frazier’s value has taken a hit. If Dick Williams and Nick Krall are looking for a right-handed power bat to play the corner outfield, Frazier might be the guy. We’ll see if the Reds decide to pursue the former fifth overall pick.